#ATCitupwithfriends: May – Water Sci-fi & Fantasy – Due May 31, 2018

#ATCitupWithFriends ATC Monthly Trade Events hosted by Pabkins.

THEME: Water Sci-Fi & Fantasy 

DUE To Host by:  May 31st, 2018 (due in my hands by this date!) SIGNUPS NOW CLOSED for this MONTH.

TO SIGN UP: You must READ THIS BLOG POST!   then fill out the questionnaire form at the bottom of this page (only fill it out the first time you join the group, all other months you want to participate you MUST email pabkins@gmail (I’m actually really easy going, so don’t let all this FAQ blog scare you away!) AFTER you signup a confirmation email will be sent to you with the mailing address. You must be 18 years of age AND have a PUBLIC instagram account that has an art focus!

Donations to help this art community are gladly welcome and accepted! If you do donate please be sure to put your USERID so I know who to thank!! You can see the supplies wishlist by clicking on this Amazon wishlist link. These are supplies that are used regularly each month in the packaging of everyone’s envelopes. Or you can choose to donate via paypal. Just —> Click this link and uncheck the goods and services box to paypal donate.

May’s THEME:

Water Sci-fi & Fantasy

May in the social media art world is notorious for being #MerMay but did you know there are SO MANY OTHER fantasy and science fiction water based creatures and contraptions? Here is a fun list of examples and suggestions to get your inspiration going. I hope that folks will try to include things other then just mermaids so that we can have a wide variety of cards!

Some examples of fantasy and sci-fi type things related to any body of water: selkies, kelpies, kappa, swamp witch/hag, frog/bog monsters, water fae, water elementals, undines, kraken, grindylow, naiad, sea serpents, nessie, mermaid, hydra, murloks, naga, bukanawa, gashadokuro, gasha, mash any water or sea creature with a human, mash any animal to a sea creature, try searching any folklore for water creatures and monsters and there are lots!

Water means ANY body of water, rivers, lakes, ponds, sea and it can be above or below the water! Such as underwater cities, underwater scifi exploration vehicles, anything steampunk or robotic on or above the water, fantasy or scifi adventures ON or below the water.  Please have fun and be creative. Remember I try to swap based on effort, detail AND composition. So if you send all portrait head shots that is what you will get back.


These monthly themes are intended as a CHALLENGE as well as a way to trade fabulous original art and bond our little art community. Please rise to the challenge and treat your fellow artists with respect by putting in your best efforts. If you are unwilling to put forth true effort then please do not apply to join!


PLEASE FOLLOW THE ADVISED SHIPPING TIME! – if your cards don’t arrive by the due date I DO NOT guarantee they will make it into the swap group.

  • US ARTISTS – Your envelope to me SHOULD BE MAILED AND POSTMARKED on or before the 25th of that month as Mail within the US typically takes 2-6 days
  • CANADIAN ARTISTS – Your envelop SHOULD BE MAILED AND POSTMARKED on or before the 20th of that month. Mail from Canada to US usually takes 4-10 days.
  • INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS – Your envelop SHOULD BE MAILED AND POSTMARKED on or before the 15-20th of that month as it can take anywhere from 7-20 days to reach the US depending on your country (Phillpines, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Sweden all tend to take 15-20 days to reach me so please keep in mind the later you mail the less likely your cards will make it into the swap!)

SENDING EARLY IS FINE! SENDING LATE IS NOT! It is upon my discretion to return late cards back to the artist’s unswapped. If you are a constantly late mailer I will start returning your cards unswapped. Please extend me some respect by mailing in a timely manner!



– CREATE 3 ORIGINAL Hand drawn or hand painted artist trading cards from the above theme. No Political or Religious cards permitted. Or I will need to return them unswapped.

– SIZE MATTERS! Cards absolutely must be the standard size of 2.5 x 3.5 inches NO LARGER! NO SMALLER! with straight cut edges or your cards will be returned unswapped. (vertical or horizontal is fine) I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!! 

– All Artists mail their cards to Pabkins – I’ll swap them for 3 different artists based on Effort for Effort taking into consideration the amount of detail and composition you sent in.  

– Optional: – “Host Gift Card” for Pabkins! It’s just an extra 4th card in the same theme if you have time. Everyone that knows me knows I’m a CRAZY ATC addict. Running this group takes a lot of my time and effort so I don’t get to do as many personal trades elsewhere. So if you want to put a big smile on my ATC loving face send 4 cards instead of 3 and I’ll get to keep one – Yippeee! I literally do a happy dance when I get one!

– Optional: – DONATIONS! – Hosting these monthly swaps costs money and I now no longer have a job so would appreciate any help you can give. Even if it’s just a stamp or $1! If you could spare any of the following to help ease my workload I’d appreciate it!

  • a pack of Kraft 5×7 envelopes with notecards or a few quarters or dollar towards the envelopes I buy in bulk. The monthly group is now 40-65+ artists every month and those envelopes add up! 
  • any extra postage stamps as sometimes folks return envelopes go over 1 ounce, and a handful of folks forget to include their stamp each month. Types of stamps that are super helpful additional ounce stamps, 2 ounce stamps,  global stamps, forever stamps” 
  • Any Extra ATC, any theme or even any you have laying around in need of a new home. Every month several envelopes go missing and I try to ensure no one goes with an empty mailbox. You can help me make that happen! Plus I recycle these back into the monthly returns as bonus extras when envelopes don’t go missing.
  • Stickers or prints 5×7 or SMALLER! as I stick them in as “extra goodies” I cannot accept and will not mail back out anything over 5x7inches sorry. 

–  All Cards must be RECEIVED by Pabkins on or before the DUE DATE! I try to give a short 5-7 day grace period if you’ve mailed out in a timely manner and notified me asap. It is up to my discretion to turn away artists that are constantly late in sending their cards, or if they rushed the quality. It isn’t fair to swap out your 1 hour rushed cards for ones others spent a fair amount of time on. Please don’t make me the bad guy. If it is postmarked the last day of the month or after I will return them unswapped regardless if they arrive before I mail returns.

–  You only receive cards if you send cards. Please share a photo of your completed cards to the #ATCitupwithfriends hashtag when you are done. That way I can see that you made them!



Definitely your InstagramID and #ATCitupwithfriends – anything more is your decision

ORIGINALS only! No prints, Do not copy someone else’s art, no copying images you found on the internet, no tracings, no stolen art, Create your own original work of art!

  • Hand drawn or painted cards only! Don’t make 3 practically identical cards, that does not show creativity or effort! DO NOT send the exact same face shot and composition cards every month, break outside the box and try something new. If you question that quality or content of your own card and know in your heart that you wouldn’t be happy to receive it please consider that before sending it in! Why not remake it and send the card you’re unsure of as a “donation” card – feel free to message me for feedback.
  • No collage, stamped, embellishments that popup from the surface and No glued together bits and bobs. Papercut is fine as long as it’s your original work. This is NOT a scrapbooking style art trade group!
  • No Religious or Political content in your cards. Tasteful Nudity is acceptable, obscene/grotesque nudity is not.
  • Remember while I will accept fan art it MUST not by a copy. I’d much rather you create your own unique creatures and characters. Indeed I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. Sending fan art makes it difficult for me to swap! Consider and think about how not everyone is a fan of what you are a fan of. This group’s focus is on illustration and original content. I’m hoping that you will flex your creative muscles to create your own art rather then fan art. If all you prefer to draw is fan art this may not be the swap for you.
  • Do NOT use sketchbook paper! Your cards should NOT be flimsy and they must not “shed” material. Meaning if I touch them paint, glitter, chalk etc should not rub off onto someone’s hands.
  • If you can’t manage a straight cut edge on your own please buy some precut paper to make your cards, otherwise I will return poorly cut cards unswapped (as that isn’t fair to others)
  • Do NOT leave flat white backgrounds, this is not a rough quick piece of art, it should be a fully finished piece of art and you should be touching the entire surface of the card. If in doubt please reach out to me for feedback. Solid flat backgrounds are discouraged. Please put in some actual effort and try for a background on your card.
  • Do Not send cards that shed! So no glitter! Glitter ink is acceptable as it does not shed, so if you like things to shine then grab yourself a glitter ink pen.
  • They must be dry, and not smell strongly of chemicals!
  • It is up to my discretion to return cards unswapped! Examples of when this might happen are if they: 1) arrive too late, were sent too late to go into the swap (or you’ve consistently been late each month, or were mailed on or after the DUE in my hands date!) 2) Do not fit the theme, Please read the THEME REQUIREMENTS! 3) show lack of honest effort or there are no comparable effort cards to swap them with,  4) they do not meet the size requirement, rough edges, poorly cut or 5) are damaged. Please do not make me the bad guy!
  • I am NOT responsible for lost cards that do not arrive to me or that do not make it back to you. I try to replace lost cards to the best of my ability as I never want anyone to go with an empty mailbox but this is not always possible and whether I have any donation cards.

– SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA! – it helps our litle ATC trade event grow and builds a sense of community. So post your WIP cards! Post your finished cards! you can even post the cards you receive in return! on instagram and hashtag #ATCitupwithfriends. Get all those other traders fired up for what they might receive – and hey go take a look at the hashtag and comment on the ones you like. I am always looking at the hashtagged posts! Please DO NOT share posts on the hashtag unless they are specifically cards you’ve sent in for this trade group.

– INDIVIDUALLY sleeve each card – document protectors, penny sleeves PREFERRED (see this link), or ziplock bag – just protect it as envelopes often get wet!

  • LOST MAIL, LOST CARDS – I am not responsible for lost or stolen mail. If I do not receive cards I cannot swap out cards from the group swap. I try to make sure no one goes with an empty mailbox but I cannot do this alone as the group is too large. Donation cards for lost or stolen envelopes are appreciated. If I attempt to replace a lost envelope it will be solely upon my discretion and likely only if you are a longstanding member of the group.
  • A LINK TO USPS Postage rates for First Class mail
    • Enjoy this USPS youtube video on how your mail gets sorted and sent 
    • 1 ounce envelopes (greeting card size no larger then 5×7) = costs 1 forever stamp 
    •  Envelopes that are rigid, square in shape, more then 3/4 inch thick, or larger then 5×7  is considered “non machineable and requires a 2 ounce stamp OR 1 forever stamp and one 21 cent stamp = costs 71 cents as of January 21, 2018
    • Anything that is in a bubble mailer, or that is in a hard / rigid is considered a PACKAGE and will cost you roughly = costs $3 as of January 21, 2018.
    • If in doubt shoot me a message. I have been having to pay “postage due” at the post office very frequently lately for folks that have been not been applying the correct number of stamps to their mail.




INCLUDE YOUR POSTAGE AND RETURN ADDRESS LABELS PLEASE!!!! self addressed stamped envelopes no bigger then 5×7 inches would be great but are not necessary – do NOT send envelopes larger then 5×7 as those require 2 stamps to mail!

– U.S. ARTISTS: include a Postage stamp, or however many it cost you to mail your envelope! So if your cards are heavy then 2 postage stamps (please don’t forget – many of you have been forgetting) – see above for info on typical costs for mailing cards.

– INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS: please donate $1.15 via the Paypal friends and family method by clicking this link and you MUST UNCHECK the goods and services box or they will charge me to accept your funds! as an international postage stamp costs $1.15. 

INCLUDE a LARGE and CLEARLY WRITTEN RETURN ADDRESS paper or sticky label with your cards!!!! (sticky label preferred – come on make it easy on me! but a piece of paper with your address clearly written on it is fine also and I’ll tape it to the envelope.

I SUPPLY: the return envelopes, sleeves and postage overages, Random prints, stickers, and sometimes extra originals. DONATIONS ARE WELCOME! Click this link to paypal donate! and uncheck the goods and services box!

  • I attempt to mail return Envelopes back out within 7-12 days after the Due by date each month.

 – REQUIRED: FILL OUT THIS ARTIST INFO QUESTIONNAIRE (it helps me know your likes and dislikes so I can better swap cards – you only need to fill it out once ever)

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